2009 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec – Santa Ynez Valley
Two years ago on one of my annual wine pilgrimages to Santa Barbara Wine Country, we stopped at Beckman Vineyards. Just because I’m a wine educator, I don’t always want to pick the wineries that my group visits. So, my friend Beverly chose Beckman and I’ve been a fan ever since.
I purchased (too) many wines on this trip, which is fairly typical. I’m still working my way through some of those bottles. But that’s the best part about visiting a wine region. Instead of simply buying bottles off of retail shelves, you really get to know the wine. You get the opportunity to taste it before you buy it. You see where and how it’s grown; and meet the people who make it, including the winemaker, if you are lucky.
I opened my bottle of ’09 Cuvee Le Bec and enjoyed it with a take-out order of ribs from Phil’s BBQ in San Diego. Like many wineries in this sub-appellation of Santa Barbara, the Rhone grape varieties are well represented. This Cuvee Le Bec had 45% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 34% Mourvèdre and 7% Counoise.
If this wine was giving an acceptance speech at an award’s ceremony, it might thank Syrah for its deep-purple color, tannins and spice. And give a “Hats Off” to Grenache for the wonderful fruit.
I was a little worried when I saw I still had this bottle in my wine captain I use as my aging cellar. But, it was not past its prime. For that, Mourvèdre deserves the coo-does. Counoise is lesser known but a common grape used in the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which blend up to 13 different varieties. It’s this Counoise that brings the necessary acidity to the blend.
As far as the taste, Loved It! On the nose, it gives black pepper, raspberry and cherry. These flavors were a magical pairing with the barbequed ribs and baked beans. The dark cherry fruit wasn’t jammy, which I believe takes away from a wine’s complexity.
The tasting room is small; and it can get crowded on weekends. It’s become a lot more popular after word got out that President Obama served it at The White House for a function. The grounds are lovely though. My wife and I managed to grab two seats out by the pond. It was a peaceful place to enjoy our tastings.